Tag Archives: kaplan early learning company

The Importance of Babbling in Babies

21 Oct

shutterstock_218714161You’re driving down the road when you hear it—your baby starts cooing in the back seat. They may be gazing out the window or simply be fascinated with whatever colorful toy has caught their attention, but something has caused them to feel the need to vocalize. Babbling is a phase of early education every baby experiences as words begin to take on meaning. Here are a few ways you can take advantage of the early learning opportunities it presents and strategies for encouraging babbling as your baby launches into language learning.

What to Expect from Babbling:

  1. Babies understand more than they can say.

    Once babies start trying to talk, they have a lot to say but can’t always express those thoughts. Understanding concepts is a lot easier than voicing them. Linking meaning to words, however, is a big milestone for babies and usually takes place between eight and twelve months.

  2. A baby’s understanding of a word may vary from yours.

    When you say dog, your baby may only associate it with the fuzzy German Shepherd running around in the backyard. First word understandings are often only tied to a specific object. It’s important to use the word in several different situations, labeling and comparing objects with the same name.

  3. Baby babblings will begin to vary.

    You should notice babbles begin to vary and take on meaning as babies learn to add inflections and intonations in his or her speech. This is a good thing! You can encourage the frequency of those babbles through replying with words and smiles of your own.

  4. Babbling is a way for babies to initiate conversation.

    Even though they’re not using words, when babies combine words and gestures, whether it’s grabbing your leg or reaching for a cup, they are looking to you to engage in conversation. Be sure you’re responding in kind!

Communication Tips for Encouraging Early Language Skills:

  • Exaggerate actions and label and describe objects as your child focuses on them.
  • Use language to give your play and daily routines structure and meaning from which the child can learn. Talk more now that the child is starting to communicate more. Good labeling and attentive, language-rich conversations are even more important than before.
  • Reinforce turn taking and the back-and-forth of daily conversation.
  • Assume that the baby’s babbling refers to the thing he or she is looking at, touching, or playing with. Label that object.
  • Use books that can be chewed on and have flaps so that the child can understand that things do not vanish when out of sight.

Tips for Reading to Your Baby:

  • Reading fosters a baby’s understanding of cause and fact, fine and gross motor skills, listening skills, object permanence, and understanding of words.
  • Encourage your baby to follow your pointing or gaze.
  • Take turns with your baby as you repeat words in the book. Reading to them is not so much important as allowing them to vocalize what is being read.
  • Help him or her with understanding first words by also pointing that word out in different forms. (Ex. A dog in the book, the dog outside, a dog on the computer screen.)
  • What you should look for when reading:
    • Does the baby enjoy reading books with you?
    • Does the baby follow your gaze or pointing?
    • Does the baby babble when looking at pictures?
    • Does the baby try to direct your attention to things of interest?
    • Does the baby shift his or her gaze between you and things in the book?

At the end of the day, babbling is a good thing and an indicator that your child is on their way to becoming a regular motor mouth! The best way to encourage babbles to develop into words is by responding to those nonsensical conversations with patient responses and reading to your baby as you both engage in active dialogues.

For even more activities for encouraging early literacy in your baby, don’t miss Raising a Talker: Easy Activities for Birth to Age 3.

Have early language learning tips to share? Feel free to comment below or post on our Facebook page!

Related Resource: 3 Tips for Building Baby Language Skills 

Fun for the Family: Board Games!

29 Aug

August may be wrapping up, but it’s still Family Fun Month! With school starting this month (or next month, for you lucky September starters), things are probably hectic, with homework and sports practices and dance classes, so we’ve come up with a handful of games for you to play as you relax with your family. And who needs a designated month to have fun with their family, anyway? These games are good year-round–not just in August. :) And as an added bonus: they are all games that will help your kids develop key skills, from spelling to deductive reasoning.

Bananagrams

bananagrams

A classic favorite! This word game encourages players to create words in a crossword format! Whoever is the first to use all of their tiles wins. It’s great for beginning spellers, as well as more advanced players, and you don’t need anything extra to play–it’s all in the bag! [18010 (Spanish), 18011 (English); $14.95 each)

Clue Junior

17177

A more child-friendly version of the murder mystery game, Clue Junior asks the players to discover who took the prizes, and when, to win the game. This game will help your child develop their deductive reasoning skills while having fun. The game board is two-sided for two levels of play, so as the children get older, they have another option to play. Included in the box: game board, plastic tray, 5 movers, 6 “who” cards, 6 “where” cards, 6 “when” cards, 1 all guess card, 18 guess tokens in five different colors, 3 gold tokens, a detective sheet, truth envelope, die, and instructions on how to play! (17177, $15.95)

Memory

9114

Encourage your preschooler’s natural curiosity with this simple and fun game that helps strengthen their short-term memory. Playtime is extended with Memory’s simple and easy-to-use (and clean up!) format. The box includes 72 picture cards, plastic tray and instructions. (9114, $13.95)

Jumping Frog Math Game

47598

Match the lily pads to the pond by the correct shape or number, and watch the frogs jump. This game enforces a child’s learning of numbers 0-10, and your child will also learn counting, number recognition, sequencing, sorting, and number combinations. Each soft, plush frog has a number on its tummy and a corresponding number of spots on its back. Includes activity guide with loads of game ideas, lily pads, and pond, all in a vinyl storage bag. (47598, $59.95)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Game

30443new

Complete a beautiful butterfly by “taking a bite” from the colorful fruits included in this game based on Eric Carle’s beloved book. Reinforce your child’s color and shape matching skills with this game, as well as language and cognitive skills. Reading the book is an added bonus, but there is no reading required to play this game! (Book not included.) (30443, $17.95)

Let us know what your favorite games to play with your family are!

Celebrate Spring with Plant and Insect Habitats

5 Apr

Looking for some fun, affordable ways to bring the outdoors inside this spring on those rainy days? Or ways to explore habitats and insects more closely for science homeschooling lessons? Here are some great learning-based toys we can offer you that can do just that!

1. Root Vue Farm Set

Root Vue Farm Set

This farm set is a wonderful way to observe the way plants grow! It comes with an acrylic viewing window that allows you to see the roots as they grow, a light shield to keep them growing healthily, a water basin and drainage reservoir, 3 packets of seeds, 8 grow-mix wafers, and a 16-page booklet with instructions and experiments! (Item #31325, $34.95)

2. Farmer’s Garden

farmer's garden

You can use this micro-farm to grow your own crops! Watch fruits and vegetables grow as you cultivate them–tasty treats like green and red peppers, green beans, strawberries, or lettuce! (Item #141179, $24.95)

3. Strange Plant Collection

strange plant collection

This collection of plants your children can grow is certainly out of the ordinary! Four seed packs come with this kit–seeds for space plants, eyeball plants, brain plants, and pitcher plants!–to provide your children with fun botanical oddities. (Item #00367, $24.95)

4. Sprout and Grow Window

sprout and grow window

This planter comes with see-through paneling, soil, pea and bean seeds, and a step-by-step guide, all allowing your children to watch the pea and bean seeds as they grow into something we can eat! Yum! (Item #24260, $19.95)

5. Insect Lore Ladybug Land

insect lore ladybug land

This fun habitat for ladybugs will allow your children to watch as ladybugs go through their life cycle! It comes with built in magnifying lenses to help children see the ladybugs better and an instruction guide! (Item #86390, $19.95)

6. Butterfly Glamour Garden

butterfly glamour garden

Set your dome terrarium up and plant your seeds, and then decorate it with stickers, jewels, marbles, pink gravel, and more! The plants that will grow will attract butterflies and hummingbirds with their rainbow-colored foliage and sweet scents, and comes complete with a butterfly that will call your garden home! (Item #141178, $24.95)

7. Butterfly Garden Set

butterfly garden set

For something a little more simple, try this butterfly garden set to observe 5 caterpillars transform into five butterflies! Included is a mesh habitat, feeding kit, care instructions, butterfly facts, and a coupon for live butterfly culture. (Item #17142, $19.95)

8. Antworks

antworks

A new twist on the old ant habitat! Antworks has been tested in zero gravity–how cool! It comes with the container and a non-toxic blue gel that will make it easy for children to observe ants digging a network of tunnels. (Item #22081, $19.95)

8 Fun Ways to Make Music

22 Mar

Do you have a budding musician in your family? Or do you know someone whose child loves making noise? For children, listening to—and making!—music is a very important step in their development and growth. It helps develop many different skills, such as listening skills, language skills, math skills, and more! It introduces children to rhythm, and can help relieve stress when things just aren’t going their way.

Making music gives children an opportunity to be creative, whether it involves shaking maracas while another friend is playing with a drum, or simply pecking the keys on their first piano. Here are some great toys children can use to create their own music!

Rainbomaker

1. Rainbomaker (8″)

The Rainbomaker creates a combination of sound and color that children will love! ($11.95, Item#94453 )

 

 

 

 

 

Learn to Play Piano2. Learn to Play Piano

The Learn to Play Piano from Melissa & Doug features 25 keys and spans two octaves! It’s a great first piano for little Mozarts. It comes with a songbook and a color-coded key chart to help children learn the keys. (On sale! $55.96, Item #00967)

 

 

 

3. Band in a Box Band in a Box

This kit includes maracas, a triangle, a set of hand cymbals, a tambourine, a clapper, and rhythm sticks to help your children create their very own band! ($24.95, Item #12774)

 

 

 

4. Zoo Rhythm Instruments (set of 7) Zoo Rhythm Instruments

This fun rhythm instrument set includes seven animals that your children might see on a zoo trip—in wooden form! It includes an elephant drum, crocodile guiro, shark bells, whale jingle, cow tone blocks, and more! ($79.95, Item #60721)

 

 

5. Ukulele (stripe design) ukulele

Use this fun Hawaiian instrument to teach children the basics of playing a stringed instrument! It comes with a pick to enhance playing! ($29.95, Item #141280)

 

 

 

6. Chimalong Jr.chimalongjr

This 8-note metallophone from Woodstock Percussion helps children learn about tone and pitch! ($39.95, Item #18004)

 

 

 

 

7. Wrist Bells wristbells

Wrist bells are a great addition to any band set your children might have! They can strap it on to their wrist with the easy Velcro closure and shake away! ($3.95, Item #1131)

 

 

 

wavedrum

8. Wave Drum

Create fun water sounds with the wave drum, like ocean waves, waterfalls, or rolls of thunder! ($21.95, Item #40791)

Math Mayhem at Kaplan Toys!

4 Sep

From multiplication mastery to measurement magic, this kid-favorite collection of toys that teach is sure to be big hit with your child, while also helping them develop the important mathematics skills they need to succeed in school. Fair warning: These toys are so much fun, they may even ask to play with them on weekends!

Dino Math Tracks

Prehistoric pals make this award-winning math game fun! Kids roll the dice and move their dinosaurs around a delightfully illustrated game board, reinforcing counting, addition, subtraction and place value skills. Includes game board, 16 dinosaurs, cards, number die and instructions for various levels of play. For 2 to 4 players.

Item #: 22408

Price: $23.95

Learning Wrap Ups Multiplication Mastery Kit

Learn your times tables in just 10 days with this multiplication mastery kit! Set includes a workbook, Wrap-ups, and an audio CD!

Item #: 82822

Price: $19.95

Large Calculator Cash Register

Children will build basic arithmetic skills during dramatic play with this cash register! This solar-powered register even holds life-size bills. Item includes play money, plastic coins, play credit card, and activities.

Item #: 33007

Price: $39.95

Wooden Abacus

Wooden Abacus

Encouraging fine motor play while illustrating mathematical concepts with this wooden abacus!

Item #: 3636

Price: $14.95

Counting Tree

Children will start to grasp concepts of numerical value when they count the numbers of leaves and place them on the appropriate branch. Each of the four colors of leaves represents a different numeral and has the corresponding number of leaves. This tree is also durable and easy to clean. This toy is intended for children 3 years and up.

Item#: 81891

Price: $23.95

Measuring Worms

This bucket of measuring fun includes 72 squishy and colorful worms in six colors and four sizes, 1″, 2″, 3″, and 4″. Children can learn math concepts from patterning to geometry at different levels of difficulty with the included 32 double-sided activity cards.

Item #: 22371

Price: $16.95

Math Mat Challenge Game

Get kids to think on their feet! This interactive talking floor mat with fast and crazy quiz games makes learning math fun! Kids listen to the equation, do the math, and then step on the right answer. The game gets faster as their scores get higher!
Item #: 81935
Price: $39.95

Block by Block™

There are only seven pieces in this puzzle, so it should be easy. Right? Guess again! Sixty puzzle cards show 60 three-dimensional structures for players to replicate using the seven pieces. Each of the pieces, based on three or four connected cubes, is unique. Block by Block is an excellent way to develop and refine spatial perception skills. This toy is intended for children in Grade 2 and up.
Item #: 83042
Price: $14.95

Mother’s Day Fun at Kaplan Toys

9 May

Kids can create beautiful, original gifts and surprises for Mom this Mother’s Day with just a few, simple tools (and toys). Check out what toys for kids also make great gifts for moms at Kaplan Toys!

Beadtastic Butterfly Kit

5 years & up

Children can create over 20 beautiful accessories for mom with colorful wooden beads, charms, cotton string & instructions.

Price: $23.95

My Art™ Spinner

6 years & up

Who says what you paint for your mom must be done with a brush? Use this amazing art spinner to create beautiful pictures and scenes for mom this Mother’s Day!

Price: $26.95

Plate Painting Kit

8 years & up

Paint and decorate two 6″ ceramic plates for mom this Mother’s Day! Kit includes instruction, paint, brush, and two display stands.

Price: $8.95

It’s My Life Scrapbook Kit

7 years & up

There’s no better way to keep all of your precious memories in one place than with this fun scrapbook kit! Design a special scrapbook for Mom or Grandma this Mother’s Day.

Price: $21.95

Pastry Chef Kit

2 years & up

Design your own cupcakes for Mom or Grandma this Mother’s Day. Mix and match the 5 cupcakes with different frostings, ribbons and cups.

Price: $29.95

Happy Mother’s Day from everyone at Kaplan Toys!

Our “Go Green” Favorites: Mother Nature Would Approve!

29 Mar

What better time is there to “Go Green” than spring? Choose toys that are good for your kids, the world around them, AND your budget with a few of these favorites from Kaplan Toys!

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Eco Friendly Creative Peg Board

Teach children about colors, sorting, and patterning with this bamboo peg board with 2 different sized pegs for varying degrees of difficulty. Contains 25 large and 25 small pegs in 5 different colors, 3 full-sized activity cards, pegboard, and activity guide. 3 years & up.

98303 | $32.95 | Plan Toys

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Eco Friendly Stacker

This unique stacker has no center post, stacks in any order and contains no BPA, PVC or phthalates.This Stacker is made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic milk containers which save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Packaged using only recycled and recyclable materials and printed with soy inks. 8 nesting pieces. 6 months & up.

89565 | $13.95 | Green Toys

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Eco Friendly Plastic Tea Set

Invite friends to a make-believe tea party and brew up an imaginary pot of tea. 17 piece set includes tea pot with lid, sugar and cream bowls, 4 cups and saucers and 4 teaspoons. Made from recycled milk jugs, non-toxic and meets FDA requirements for food contact. 3 years & up.

85878 | $27.95 | Green Toys

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Eco Friendly Forest Mobile

Bring a bit of nature to the classroom with this whimsical mobile. All-natural from start to finish, this certified organic cotton mobile is eco-friendly and uses only plants and minerals to create a soothing color palette.

62272 | $49.95

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Eco Friendly Balancing Monkeys

Helps develop mathematical skills through discovery play as children move the monkeys around to keep the tree balanced. Includes one tree and 6 monkeys. 3 years & up.

98325 | $22.95 | Plan Toys

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Eco Friendly Fire Truck

Solidly constructed from 100% recycled plastic milk containers, this fire truck features a sturdy roof ladder that pivots vertically and rotates 360 degrees, two removable ladders and no metal axles. 1 year & up.

89272 | $27.95 | Green Toys

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Kettler® Go Green Folding Trike

With over 95% of the plastic parts made from recycled material, this trike is as eco-friendly as it is unique. The folding frame allows for easy storage and one-button assembly. Features removable rear bucket and multi-position adjustable seat to comfortably accommodate toddlers. Maximum weight 50 lbs. 18 months – 4 years.

62227 | $79.95 | Kettler International Inc.

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